04/19/11

Do not do the enemy’s job for him.

By: Garry L. Hamilton
The Radio Patriot

Friend and fellow blogger “G” wrote of the Glenn Beck /Daily Caller flap:

“You know, sometimes we really are our own worst enemies.

Today, as a low murmur in the background, I hear rumors of multiple conservative pundits foaming at the mouth about some sort of inequities supposedly perpetrated by Beck.

Oddly, it’s not like just one or maybe two people. It’s a whole gaggle of them.

And it’s being done in public.

What the hell?

Do we learn nothing? Are we all subscribers to the Association of Fair Weather Friends? What? We can’t resist the opportunity to throw red meat to our socialist enemies out of spite because someone can’t figure out a way to do laundry out of the public eye?

In October of 2008, just as the election was bearing down under full sail over the horizon, one of the biggest, best loved, most respected gun forums on the Internet — home of tens of thousands of pro-gun, pro-liberty people, ranging from timid new shooters to seasoned old veterans, from recently converted anti-gunners to guys who had been shooting before they could walk — suddenly lost all the momentum behind its efforts to support candidates who supported gun rights, as the leadership of the forum was sucked into a black hole of bickering over ownership of the brand and content of the thriving discussion board. It would be another two years before the dispute was resolved. For that two years, they would be rendered ineffective as a source of activism. Even now their clout has been significantly diminished.

Why? Because one of the parties involved in the squabble believed he could get more mileage if he took his case to the court of public opinion. There was infighting, there was name calling, there was a tremendous amount of effort required on the part of the moderator staff to keep things focused on the forum’s charter and out of the emotional gutter. I’ll spare you the underlying motivation and the names of the opposing parties; suffice it to say that underneath it all was money and fame. The court of public opinion, as it happened, did not win the day. It did, however, create rifts between people who had been online friends for years. The customary long reach afforded the forum, through participation in radio and press and blog interviews was severely curtailed. It is still not clear if they will ever regain the voice they once had.

AND THESE PEOPLE WERE ALL “ON THE SAME SIDE.” They stood for the same things. They backed the same causes. They held the same principles. They fought the same enemies. And they were at each other’s throats.

I don’t have any connection to Beck, or to any of the other involved parties, but I *do* know that every one of the people involved (or at least according to the rumors) has been an effective agent of conservatism and on behalf of liberty.

If any of these people has a beef with one of the others, I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT, and I especially don’t want to hear about it in the gleeful chortling of our common enemies. I want it to be something handled when “my people call your people” and discreetly hash out the details. It absolutely does not need to be the subject of public righteous indignation and vociferous finger wagging that short circuits the energies of our already rag-tag armies, wasting our efforts bickering about who gets to wear the uniform with the four stars and who gets to stand in the spotlight.

Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ.

We are at war for the future of liberty in America, and we are complete suckers for intrigue — and intrigue, moreover, that may well have been engineered by the very people from whom we hope to rescue the nation.

So, if any of you happens to have the ear of any of the involved parties, may I entreat you to counsel discretion in these matters, at least until we have hung the hides of our adversaries on the wall of history.

For myself, I will not be drawn into a drama pitting one of my friends against another, choosing up sides that I may feel righteous that I am, at least, not one of those people.

Do not do the enemy’s job for him.

Do not aim your volleys at the people standing in your own trenches.”

~~ G

02/19/11

Confiscation

By: Garry L. Hamilton

In response to Pierre Legrand’s post on the registration of gold ownership: Washington State Republicans Betray The Ideals Of Personal Freedom and Our Right To Privacy…We Need A Third Party!

Confiscation.

After the fashion of previous firearm confiscation programs.

First, you get people to register sales/transfers.

Then you get people to register the fact of ownership, regardless of duration.

Then, when you have “enough” records to track “enough” of whatever commodity or contraband you mean to interdict, you issue the appropriate edict or declaration, or pass the required legislation, or enact the desired regulation declaring that all of [whatever] must be turned in.

An amnesty period is established, during which a “no questions asked” policy is in force.

At the end of that period, anyone found still in possession of [contraband] will be held in violation of [relevant law/directive/edict/regulation] and subject to whatever defined penalties.

This is a time tested pattern.

First comes registration, then confiscation.

Want to have a little fun? Try telling the people involved that registration leads to confiscation. You’ll be labeled a conspiracy nut. For people involved in the preservation of gun rights, this pattern is all too familiar.

Now, the reasoning behind the confiscation depends on the subject. In this case, it’s precious metals and stuff like that. Presumably the theory is that all wealth belongs ultimately to the state. Kind of along the lines of real estate — once you understand that “real” hasn’t anything to do with reality, but everything to do with royalty (yes, “real” is Spanish for “royal”) — it all “belongs to the king.”

I could be wrong. That happens a lot. But I think that’s the framing that best explains this.

02/8/11

RIP: DEC Founder Ken Olsen Dead at 84

By: Garry Hamilton

DEC Founder Ken Olsen

A friend sent me this:

DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead – Silence at the Mill

For many, Ken Olsen was just another “name” in the world of computing.

I see him as more than that.

We, the computing community (and I, personally) owe him a great deal.

My own start in computing was on Heathkit gear, and Heathkit’s start in the digital computing space was based on the H-8 and H-11, a bit-slice machine derived from the PDP model.

My entry into Unix was on DEC gear, running Tru64 Unix and other variations.

The first named Unix itself was developed on a PDP-11, as was the C language. The impact of the PDP-11 on processor and OS design, and language development was wide and the ripples pervasive.

DEC was deeply involved in the efforts that, together with Xerox and Intel, brought Ethernet — the foundation of the Internet — to maturity as the de facto networking standard, over IBM’s token ring.

The influence Ken and his company had on computing is far reaching: he is one of the giants on whose shoulders the rest of us stand.

Without Ken Olsen and his brainchild, where would we be today?

I have no idea, but his vision shines through milestones marking the entire length of the path that led us where we are now.

The world owes this man a tremendous debt, though I doubt many will ever appreciate it.

RIP, Ken. You left your mark. The world is a better place for having had you in it.

01/10/11

Getting It Backwards

By: Garry L. Hamilton

I continue to see assertions that “speech creates thought” or that “symbols are violence” and variations on the idea that thoughts and actions originate from somewhere besides in one’s own mind.

The individual is the origin point for decisions leading to action. Always.

The individual is the origin point for thought that leads to decisions.

People are not stimulus-response machines.

Now, with a little effort, over an extended period of time, you can educate a person such that he is encouraged to adopt a frame of mind in which he bears no responsibility for his thoughts, decisions and actions. The music did it, the video game did it, the ridicule by classmates did it, the weather did it or the lack of adequate stimulating entertainment did it. Easy enough to extend this to include “talk radio did it, advertising did it, symbols on a web site did it.”

This, of course, opens the door to controlling what people see and hear. Because without some kind of (government) protection, the automatons that we call “people” will just go off and do all manner of horrible things, because they can’t help themselves.

And here’s the “ad absurdum” of that: if, in fact, Man is effectively a robot, doomed to simply respond to stimuli, then those who propose to control those stimuli are either a) simply responding to stimuli of their own, in accordance with their conditioning, or b) not really members of the “Mankind” set, being instead some kind of “ubermensch” or master race.

It is clear, on its face, that neither of these assertions works, thus the foundation idea is false.

Therefore let us keep in mind that our decisions are, at all times, the product of our own thought.

Is it possible to reach bad decisions? Yes. All that is required is bad data (garbage in => garbage out) or bad thinking. If one is educated in a system where the thinking patterns are established such that false data is part of the foundation process, bad conclusions will be reached on a regular basis. Said differently, it is possible, using degrees of coercion, to “program” people so that they use defective thinking and consequently “act crazy” even though, in their own universe, they are rational actors. Further, it is possible to introduce defects in other ways, not least, through bad “circuitry” on the neurological side, but also through physical injury or through some trauma that, in itself, introduces bad data into the system.

None of this equates to “Man is a stimulus-response machine.”

The overwhelming majority of people are truly rational actors, whose processes include the identification and rejection of bad data and the seeking of better data. This is a fundamental part of what it is to be human.

Therefore, let us cease attempting to control people’s actions by censoring their “inputs” out of fear that all inputs are essentially the “punched cards” of thought and decision.

It is okay, in fact necessary, to correctly identify a crazy person as crazy without trying to assign blame for that in other quarters.

Rhetoric calibrated to capitalize on a violent event (“never let a crisis go to waste”) is dishonest and should be identified as such.

Keep your thinking clear and your utterances precise and free of the clutter of emotion.

01/5/11

Extreme Normality

By: Garry Hamilton

According to Fox News today, Harry Reid claims the GOP has been taken over by extremists.

And I must heartily agree.

Because having a job where you make more than 98% of Americans, for the privilege of making rules that apply to everyone but yourself, is what “normal” is all about.

Because “normal” is a job where, once you lose your job or decide to retire, after as little as six years, you will never have to work another day in your life, and you will have influence into perpetuity.

Because “normal” is having health care that a) the rest of the country can’t even buy, and b) you don’t have to pay for.

Because “normal” is when you get to break your promises and not only don’t have to apologize, but claim the promises never happened.

Because “normal” is sitting at a desk clear across the country from where you “live,” and having no outside “job,” and yet becoming wealthy as sin — by accident — over the decades of your isolation from the day-to-day grind.

Because “normal” is overseeing the redaction of history (to remove all those unpleasant bits, you see) and ensuring that education produces citizens that don’t question your dictates, and who depend on you to manage their pathetic lives.

And, because “normal” is about imposing taxation on the proles and inventing new, creative ways of spending money you didn’t earn.

Yup. Perfectly normal.

Extremism, on the other hand, is all about working at a job (or two), supporting a family, paying the imposed taxes, and trying to figure out what the rules are today.

Because “extremism” is working like a dog to raise your kids and teach them right from wrong despite their schooling, pay your bills — and your taxes — and struggle with absentee “representation” by people who have no idea who you are.

Because “extremism” is finally raising your voice in protest at the incessant stream of indignities, from years of having your income confiscated by a delusional government, your property values crashed by their mistakes, and your retirement effectively eliminated by a collection of privileged fops.

Because “extremism” is about the overwhelming majority of your fellow countrymen objecting to the crushing burden of taxation, regulations and “unintended” legislative consequences that eliminate their jobs and assets.

Because “extremism” is anything that disagrees with the decrees of the “normal” people in Congress.

Yes, by all means. Wanting to treat the money you earned as your own — that’s pretty extreme stuff.

On the other hand, this may be the first time in his life that Reid has had his nose rubbed in his own ignorance of the will of normal people.

Normal people who exercised the “extreme” measures of showing up peacefully at the polls and making it clear — on a wavelength even Washington D.C. can understand — that after a while, you’ve stolen enough from us.

Reid probably has real difficulty appreciating that kind of “radical” normality.

Yeah, Harry, we’re a pretty extreme bunch.

We are the face of Extreme Normality.

——————–

Update: Patrick Henry Knew Something About Normalcy Bias!

12/29/10

A Discussion on “Libertarian Socialists”

By: Garry Hamilton

The following email thread occurred yesterday:

Email #1:

D:

“also, everyone with half a brain knows that the term ‘libertarian socialist’ is both valid and not contradictory.”

Just as I thought. You have half a brain. Thanks for the confirmation.

We’ll be taking up a collection to buy you a shift key and a set of instructions for its use.

Email #2:

M: They are not contradictory. One deals with economics, the other with freedoms.

Look at Dictatorships for an example – they exist in countries with every economic model. Same with Democracies. Libertarianism is about personal freedom. It is NOT about the right to shit on thy neighbor. It is NOT about Corporate Freedoms, because Corporations, despite the SCOTUS ruling, ARE NOT people.

Email #3 from Garry Hamilton:

Not contradictory?

Let us understand what socialism actually is. Socialism is a system where resources are centrally managed and centrally redistributed according to arbitrary rules of “fairness” as adjudicated by a central authority. There is nothing voluntary about socialism.

The idea that there can be a principled libertarian who subscribes to the notion of involuntary redistribution of his production seems absurd to me on its face.

Socialism may seem like an economic system, but it’s more properly a system of enforced moralities with direct economic aspects. In order to subscribe to socialism, one must first subscribe to the idea that there is such a thing as enforcible fairness and that such fairness can be arbitrarily dictated.

The central authority decides who shall be taxed and to what degree, and who shall benefit from the distribution of those tax revenues. If a voting system (elections) is in place, the central authority may well be swayed in its distribution decisions by a desire to remain in power and thus tend to fund the “needs” of various strategic voting blocs. This template is, of course, corrupt. Likewise, the sitting central authority may favor a wealthy benefactor (say, a large corporation or some random billionaire) in order to secure campaign funding and related support. This template is also corrupt. If there is no voting/election system in place, then a defacto dictatorship — benevolent or not — exists and I’m pretty sure I don’t have to argue that this won’t fly with principled libertarians.

The idea then that there can be a “libertarian socialist” is — at least to me — a nonsense assertion. Libertarian principles lie along a vector toward minimal government, while socialist principles lie along a vector of maximum government. That’s pretty much an unsustainable dichotomy.

The “people-ness or not” of corporations is irrelevant to the oxymoron.

Freedom of choice is relevant. Socialism, through the mechanism of enforced morality, erodes freedom of choice and, eventually, eliminates it. The “common good” becomes the universal overriding principle and all else — especially individual aspirations — is subordinated to that cause. That this has economic consequences is only the most externally visible effect. The “economy” of socialism isn’t the mechanizing principle, central control and dictated fairness is.

12/15/10

Chaos Theory of Government

By: Garry L. Hamilton

The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution:

“[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Over the years, Congress has sought to — and largely succeeded in — expanding the scope of “commerce” to include the growing and personal consumption of food on one’s own land, solely for one’s own use.

The theory being, of course, that by *not* consuming food grown on someone else’s land in an altogether different state, one has affected “interstate commerce” by *not* doing something one could reasonably be expected to do.

If you sit cross-legged for a while with a couple of thousand sheets of eighty-pound printer paper in your lap, covered in magical legislative hieroglyphics, it will eventually dawn on you that skipping breakfast also affects “Commerce … among the … States,” as does deciding not to go out to the local cinema to watch “Dances With Smurfs” on the big screen.

In other words, commerce, embodied as “the economy,” is one giant exercise in the Butterfly Effect so loved by the Chaos Theory boffins. Everything you do or don’t do affects everything else that anybody else does, and naturally, therefore, it all needs regulating.

All your Commerce are belong to us.

I am struck by the glib invocation and largely uncontested acceptance of a “thighbone-connected-to-the-toebone-connected-to-the-earbone” reasoning process to arrive at a nearly unvarnished totalitarian justification for the equally totalitarian conclusion: if it moves, government owns it; if it doesn’t move, government owns it.

And, in a faintly and somewhat darkly ironic definitional twist, it turns out that these same folks (By The Power Vested In Me By Chaos Theory) are the ones who promote chaos of a different sort — the breakdown of civil order — to create the “Help! Save us!” demand from the populace so they can step in and impose the stark and oppressive framework of total government as our savior.

Exquisite. The Pincers of Chaos. We will use the Theory of Chaos to justify control of all commerce of whatever sort in whatever venue (hey, after all, the way you tie your shoes affects the weather in Siberia) while we work to induce chaos in society to create the power vacuum needed to seize control.

It’s okay, though, because it’s all for your own good.

10/25/10

NPR’s Psychiatric Analysis

By: Garry Hamilton

Bookworm’s article, here . . .

Individualism as a psychiatric illness — what the NPR kerfuffle reveals
. . .

observes that:

For those too young to remember those times, you have to appreciate that psychiatry in America and psychiatry in the Soviet Union were two vastly different things. In the Soviet Union, psychiatry wasn’t about voluntary commercial relationships between an individual and a doctor, with the latter helping a person break a bad habit, find greater happiness, control anxiety, make personal relationships richer, or whatever else got a person thinking a psychiatrist might be a good thing.

(emphasis mine).

The article displays her usual incisive insight. She makes the point well: the pro-monolithic state fans view non-conformity as deviance and a “disturbed” condition, which clearly needs “treatment” at the hands of “professionals.”

However, it is well to remember that “Psychiatry in the USSR” and the kinder, gentler “Psychiatry in the USA” share common roots and more than a little methodology.

Psychiatry in America enjoys substantial state funding, and is firmly entrenched in the public education system’s dogma and practice, gaining ground steadily over the last five decades. It is an interesting correlation that our national educational product has declined in quality pretty much in proportion to the increases in psychiatric influence over teacher training and administrative policy.

They’ve been patient, much as the “Progressives” have been. The “voluntary commercial relationships” to which she refers are only still voluntary because they don’t have enough of a state foothold to make them compulsory. Don’t imagine that they won’t seize the opportunity once it’s offered. And, if you need to be entertained, in a Freddy Kruger sort of way, a quick read through the DSM IV (the Psych professional’s bible) will elicit nearly hysterical giggles at some of the entries, only to evoke chills and dread once you understand that any old Joe can be irrevocably labeled by the “professional” application of “professional” opinion, based on the contents of this manual whose contents are enshrined by a voting process, rather than by science.

One of the most glaring single things in the Psych profession’s body of “knowledge” — a thing which, all by itself, renders the whole profession unfit — is its classification of religion and religious belief as a kind of delusion, where the degree of delusion is a function of the degree of real belief.

It is through their tender ministrations that Medicine has adopted the general stance that God — and spiritual matters broadly — have no place in medical practice.

Now, if one is happy with the “no such thing as God” point of view, and wishes to seek solutions through the Psych “sciences,” far be it from me to say him nay; but for myself, and for those about whom I care at all, I will not place my mental health and well being in the hands of anyone whose medical opinion is that my religious views make me basically crazy, even if the “delusion” is mostly harmless.

I mean, seriously, why would anyone willingly do that?

So, while her essential point is more than a little valid, and is worthy of all the exposure it can get, let us not presume that, just because MK ULTRA isn’t (supposedly) being operated openly today, that Psychiatry is anything like our friend. They await only the moment when government has the degree of control it needs to engage their services to control the population’s thought crimes.

Anything that exposes this and helps to undercut their droning, hypnotic mouthpiece is a worthy effort.

09/2/10

A Little More Insight

By: Garry Hamilton

This is interesting.

Blogger Lexington Green – Chicago Boyz – writes I Think I See What Glenn Beck is Doing, wherein he says:

Quote:

The Glenn Beck rally is confusing people.

Why?

He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts.

Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral.

Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.

Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.

Someone who asks what the rally has to do with the 2010 election is missing the point.

Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.

Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.

He goes on to address the point that “Beck is unabashed that God can be invoked in public places by citizens…” and goes on to note that…

Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

He references some Reagan observations to provide more context…

Ronald Reagan said we would not defeat Communism, we would transcend it.

As Ronald Reagan also said, there are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.

Oh, and it seems his assessment is accurate:

Whoa. Mr Beck himself linked to this post, and tweeted: “The ONLY guy to actually get it!”

Essentially, Beck has realized that there are meta-levels. Law is a function of policy is a function of culture is a function of belief. And “policy” is where “politics” fits on the scale.

It would appear that he’s playing the long game, but his approach may yield near-term results.

08/20/10

Breaking a Bundle of Chopsticks

By: Garry Hamilton

In Bob McCarty’s article about the salon owner, he offers this quote by Teresa Pershall from among his observations:

Comparing government officials to “sticks” who are willing to cover up for each other and accept mediocrity as long as it allows them to enrich themselves, she went on to highlight corruption as one of the biggest problems she saw in Vietnam.

“One stick, you can break it,” she said. “One chopstick, you can break it. But one-hundred chopsticks, you cannot break.”

What jumped out at me from this description is the inescapable similarity between her “one hundred chopsticks” and this “bundle of sticks” from history:

…also represented thus:

Yes, this is the Roman fasces, literally, a bundle of sticks.

It is from this word that the term “fascism” is derived.

Now, originally, the fasces represented strength, unity, and justice but, like so many symbols throughout history, it was “hijacked” by those hungry for power and willing to oppress in the name of the virtues it represents.

The fasces is even used in the architecture of our nation’s capitol to symbolize those original virtues, but for those who were around when Mussolini adopted it for the Fascist flag, it can be hard to look upon it without mixed emotions.

Yes, the “bundle of sticks” metaphor applies well to the totalitarian model.

Of course we all “know” that fascism and communism are totally different. Totally. Because in fascism, it’s all about the benefit of the STATE, whereas in communism it’s all about the PEOPLE, and the interests of the people are represented and managed by . . . the STATE. Which makes them totally different, because even though in both models all power is reposed in the state, communism is all about the people. Right…

And, in both models, you can’t fight city hall (or the state), because there are just too many sticks in that bundle.

Yes, indeed, I think Teresa’s observation is very apt.